Monday, June 6, 2011

On Winding Roads

From the moment the plane hits the Tarmac, life takes on a different meaning altogether. As I step out onto the stairs I feel the hot sun on my skin. I take in a deep breath. Everywhere I have in been in the world is different, has a different feel, smell and vibration, but the Algarve is home in the truest meaning of the word like no other place on Earth. It has it's very unique feel, smell and energy.  My favorite part when I first arrive is the drive from the airport to my parents. I love the mostly narrow winding road that stretches from the ocean into the mountains for a little over 20 kilometers. My little rental car obeys to all the gear changes necessary to hug the curves just so and I feel a bit like a Rally driver.  I love to drive on this stretch in particular because I used to ride it daily on the bus to and from school when I attended the last two years of high school. As I kick into the gears into fifth, back to fourth and then third and back to fourth again, I always have the same thoughts - this is where came from, where life started for me and where I will always belong whether I want it or not. This land speaks to my soul and that is hard to ignore.

But coming home to Portugal is always filled with a dichotomy of experiences. In some ways it seems as time stood still - some people you knew are still living in the same exact house, doing the same exact things day in and day out and have the same close-minded view of the world.  Progress happens all around and changes the landscape. An old house gets torn down for a new apartment complex or mini mall; another field turns into a parking lot; another idyllic road becomes a busy throughway. Coming home is always bittersweet too when you have more then one place to call home. Living life on two separate continents is way less glamorous then one might think. Your always leaving your friends and family to go home to your friends and family.

As I come around the last corner before a short straight stretch I see my parents home, the house I was born in, emerge up on the right. I press the horn on my little Hyundai. Mom sticks her head out the kitchen door and presses the control to open the gate. I'm home, for now......

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